Question: "What is the Christian answer to domestic violence?"
Answer: The Christian answer to domestic violence begins with the Word of God. Marriage is the first institution that God established between people. Both men and women were created in His image, as equal partners with distinctively different roles (Genesis 1:27). A man is to be the head, or authority, of his household (Ephesians 5:23; 1 Peter 3:1). With this comes the responsibility of earning the respect of his family and community. Colossians 3:19 commands husbands to love their wives and never treat them harshly.
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. If you don't treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard” (1 Peter 3:7).
Husbands are to love their wives as they do their own bodies. “No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church” (Ephesians 5:29). Men are to be servant leaders, not demanding authority or submission, but treating their wives in such a way that submission becomes her natural response. “For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
Child abuse is also strongly condemned by God. Although discipline is important, its purpose should be to correct and direct the child to righteousness, not as a way of taking out anger unjustly. “And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, don't aggravate your children. If you do, they will become discouraged and quit trying.” We should do nothing to destroy the spirit of our children, or destroy their innocence. Jesus strongly warns those who might cause children to stumble, or lose faith in Him (Matthew 18:6).
Victims of domestic violence need to be protected, even moved temporarily to a safe place if necessary. If a wife is being abused by her husband, she needs to separate herself from him while he receives treatment for his violence. Once a Bible-believing Christian counselor has deemed it appropriate for the couple to reunite, they should make every effort to reconcile and live in peace, while continuing marriage and/or family counseling.
This is only possible if both parties are willing to commit their lives to Christ and make God the head of their household. They should find a local Bible-teaching Christian church, and commit themselves to membership. They should also find spiritually mature Christians who are willing to disciple them either individually or in a small group. The benefits to this are many, including accountability for their actions. “The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you” (Psalm 9:9-10).
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